Bier und Schnee

[Beer and Snow]

This week was different because there were holidays on Tuesday and Wednesday, so I only had one class on Monday evening and one on Thursday afternoon. Monday afternoon, I took a train back to Salzburg from Rosenheim after spending the weekend there with my relatives and went to my Austrian culture class. My lectures, oddly enough, for the culture class take place in a hostel in Salzburg. A large number of students wanted to take that class (and a few other classes), and the University didn’t have any available rooms that would hold so many people. The program coordinator had to look elsewhere, so now we’ve been having our lectures in this hostel conference room. It’s actually pretty cool because the staff always has free paper, pens, and candy in the room for us to take.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this in an earlier post, but Salzburg University doesn’t really have a campus. All of the faculties and their buildings are spread throughout the city. One of my classes is right in the Altstadt near the Salzburger Dom. On the first day of class the window was open, and we could here church bells ringing and horse drawn carriages going by on the cobblestone streets… something I’ve never been distracted by in class before now. Other than the culture class, the rest of my courses take place in the Uni-park, a huge building on the other side of the castle hill from the Altstadt.

Since the university is so spread out in Salzburg, there are twelve different libraries for all of the different colleges (some colleges have multiple)! I’ve only been to two of them. There’s one in the Uni-park that is quite modern, and it kind of reminds me of the new Ames public library. The other library I’ve been to is the Haubtbibliothek [main library]. It’s in a much older building than the Uni-park library, and it’s right across from the Festspielhaus [concert hall] in the Altstadt. I went to a lecture about refugees in Austria since World War I on Thursday and saw a picture that showed how the same building that houses the Haubtbibliothek was converted into a hospital for refugees during and after World War II. Maybe by the end of the semester, I can visit all twelve university libraries!

Monday was also Halloween, which is actually celebrated by a decent number of Austrians. I’m not completely sure where they get their impressions on what Halloween is all about, probably in movies, but of all the people I saw that were dressed up, at least half of them were some sort of skeleton. I saw a few kids in the neighborhood where my dorm is, and they were all dressed up as skeletons. I was in the Altstadt and there were people going out to bars or parties, most of them dressed as skeletons. I thought it was kind of interesting because all of the costumes I saw were meant to be a bit scary. We actually talked about Halloween a bit in my Austrian culture class. There are some Austrians who don’t like it because it was sort of adopted from the United States, so it’s not very traditional here. The children are big fans of it, though, because they get free candy.

On Tuesday, all saint’s day, the university was closed, so I took a train back to Rosenheim. There was a family get-together to celebrate my cousin, Theresa’s, birthday. We had apple cake, brownies, coffee, and tea, and enjoyed each other’s company for the afternoon. In the evening, we had mini-pizzas for dinner and eventually played a board game before I had to head back to Salzburg at 10 pm. They sent me back with a container full of cake and brownies!

I visited the Stiegl brewery on Wednesday, and took the tour in German. It was an extremely interesting tour. They showed us a short movie about the Stiegl brewing company and their brewing process. The movie was projected on a 180-degree screen and on the floor. It’s hard to describe but, some of their animations made me feel like I was in a glass of beer. The factory was amazing. We saw a bottle filling machine that could fill 60,000 half liter bottles of beer in one hour! The brew house is said to be the most state-of-the-art brew house in all of Europe. The smell was so strong in that room. After the tour, I got to try 3 different types of Stiegl beer at the restaurant as a part of the tour, and they gave me a free beer mug!

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Bottling Machine

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Brew House

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Beer tasting (they’re only .2 liters each… don’t worry)

The rest of the week wasn’t too interesting… I’m giving a 25-minute presentation about Refugee rights in two days for my human rights class, and I also need to write a 6000-word paper about the topic by the end of the semester. I spent a good part of my weekend working on that, so that I’ll hopefully have more free time on my last few weekends in Salzburg. On Sunday, it was raining for most of the day until the afternoon when it turned into snow! I always get excited about the first snow, but then inevitability end up feeling dread because I know winter is coming. I’m excited for winter this year, though, because it means that I’ll be back home with my family and friends soon, but it also means that my semester in Salzburg is coming to a close… and then there’s the cold. Those two things I am not very thrilled about. After it was snowing for a while, I took a break from my homework and went for a little walk to get a view of the city in the snow, which was the perfect way to end the weekend.

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This week: looking to be a busy one with my classes, but I’m working on planning a trip to Ljubljana, Slovenia for the weekend!

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